3.5 yards every play wins every game.

In a recent conversation with a colleague I shared how I struggle with goals. I’m much better with “What now?” than “What then?” I explained if I were a college football coach, I’d tell my offense to put touchdowns and winning games out of their minds. We can celebrate winning on every play by focusing on getting 3.5 yards, one play after another. I would recruit and build my offense with talent that could do that without fail. No big playmakers. No celebrity wide receivers. No big gun Houdini at QB. Just build a team with strength, tenacity, and clarity. We’d have one battle cry, “Never give up the Ball!” Given a respectable defense, we’d never lose a game.

For obvious reasons, I will never coach football.

I wonder if we’ve become addicted to Big Plays as a nation? Nothing is good enough unless it gains us 20 or 60 yards. Everything’s “no huddle” and “hurry up.” We want to see speed streaking down the sidelines. We want to see explosiveness break through for big gains. I don’t know. It sure seems we’re all paying the price for that economic game plan now. I know a lot of good people out there who’d love to count on winning 3.5 yards at a time. They might tell you “Just keep me in the game working one day after another. Just give me a chance to celebrate doing the basic things without fail. Just give me the ball and I promise I won’t let go.”

I’m no economist either, but a lot of this “stimulus package” stuff smells like more big play/Hail Mary thinking to me. And what if it’s an incompletion? Not only could we lose the ball, we lose field position. And the opponent, “dwindling confidence,” seems to have the momentum. I may be wrong, but I’d like to see that money earned in 3.5 yards wins. Can we huddle up and hand it off one play a time and not hurl $800 billion go-for-broke passes? No razzle dazzle earmarks. No double reverses. No sneaks. Just steady progress. So, who do we recruit? Working people. People who make things, who’ll dig in side-by-side and put everything they’ve got into every play and move us ahead one little win at a time. The strong. The tenacious. The clear-headed.  As for those who want to leave the game with clean uniforms, “stylin’ and profilin’” dancing toward the end zone…trade them.

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